Book Discussion Groups
Evening Book Group
by Bryan Stevenson
Thursday, November 29, 2018
Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. In Just Mercy, Stevenson recounts his experiences working to assist those desperately in need, reflecting on his pursuit of the ideal of compassion in American justice.
Discussion will be led by Pam Foresman.
December The discussion group does not meet in December.
Looking Ahead to Future Discussions:
Would YOU like to suggest a book to discuss?
Contact Marnie Smith
Would YOU like to lead a discussion?
Don't know what's involved? Here are some guidelines that may be helpful, especially to new discussion leaders.
Feel free to follow some or all of these suggestions. The idea is to keep the meetings relaxed but meaningful.
DECIDE ON A BOOK.
The book you select should be one that will encourage discussion and be of interest to a diverse group. Some books, although a “good read” do not have much meat for discussion. (Murder mysteries, for example, are often excellent books to read, but may leave little to discuss.) The best books are ones that make you think and learn.
Lists of recommended titles for book discussion groups are widely available! Marnie Smith and other library staff members can show you about the wonderful database “Novelist”, and can offer suggestions. Internet sites are also helpful: one excellent site is www.readinggroupguides.com. Another good site is www.randomhouse.com (click on “Features” and then “Reading group Guides.”)
Read the book before making a final decision!
Check to be sure there are enough copies of the book available within our group of libraries. Fifteen copies should be enough. The computer catalog will tell you how many copies there are in the system, or Marnie can check that for you.
CHOOSE A DATE! Marnie will put you on the schedule as soon as you have decided on a book. Marnie will arrange to get copies of the book. She will also prepare publicity, distribute flyers, and send notices to the local newspapers prior to each month’s discussion.
Do some PREPARATION.
You may want to prepare a brief outline of the book to get the discussion started.
Find some information about the author: other books written, awards, best-sellers, etc. This does not need to be extensive, but is helpful to set a tone for discussion.
Find reviews, to learn what others have had to say about this book. Book reviews are always presented on www.amazon.com. Marnie can help if you like.
Check to see if a prepared Book Discussion Guide already exists: the two web sites listed above may help. www.readinggroupguides.com also provides lists of recommended questions that can be used even when NO prepared guide is available. (This web site even offers recipes that have proved helpful at various book group gatherings!)
Ask the library staff to show you how to use “Novelist”, a wonderful database purchased by the library that offers suggestions of what to read, discussion guides of many books, and extensive reviews of books. You can use Novelist from your computer at home or at the library. Not comfortable with the computer? Marnie will happily do some research for you!
Prepare some questions for discussion. You may not need them as this is a talkative group, but if the discussion gets bogged down you can bring up questions you thought about in advance. Some open-ended questions come in handy. You can open the discussion with, “Did you like the book,” and why or why not.
BRING SOMETHING TO EAT. We think discussions always go better when there is something to munch on! Marnie will provide hot water and all the fixings for instant coffee or tea. The rest is up to you.
Your job as DISCUSSION LEADER is to see that all get a chance to share their opinions and ideas, and to coax the discussion back to the topic if it begins to go far off course. There has RARELY been any problem with this group finding things to talk about!
DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY if others don't like the book you chose. It is the book they may criticize, not you. Some of the best discussions have centered on what people didn't like about a particular book or author's style. Controversy is good for a discussion group
Remember that leading a book discussion here is fun! Our gatherings have been lively and informative, and others will help to keep the discussion going. You will meet interesting people who are well-read and who enjoy talking about books. We think you will enjoy it.